Posted by: 愛撫 | 05/15/09

Album review: C.G mix – pray

C.G mix’s second full-length release, pray brought with it a maelstrom of hype unlike anything in Geneon Records’ history. All across the globe, fans were waiting with bated breath to see if I’ve’s resident prince of darkness would deliver on his promise to…

OK, I can’t keep this up. Nobody wanted this album and C.G mix’s solo career has been a gigantic mistake from the very beginning. Let’s get on with the review.

C.G mix – pray (2009, Geneon)

Tracklisting:

1. under the darkness

2. Everything is assumed to be connected

3. judge

4. 風をうけて (Kaze wo Ukete)

5. DAY IN

6. flat

7. Face of Fact

8. Swept Away

9. 破線の標 (Hasen no Shirushi)

10. pray

11. BLUE

12. under the darkness -four piece band mix-

The review:

C.G mix has always been an oddity amongst I’ve’s production staff. Photographed more than the rest of his peers combined, the self-styled ‘bishounen’ is also the only one of the arrangers to pursue a career as a vocalist. His first solo effort, 2006’s in your life, failed to make much of a splash with fans and sold badly even by I’ve standards, apathy towards the release largely attributed to the fact that most of the album’s tracks were virtually indistinguishable from each other. That, and saying his voice is an ‘acquired taste’ borders on too gracious – it doesn’t quite grate per se, but it’s surely far from the most pleasant sound one could be choosing to listen to.

Things seemed to be on the up and up for C.G mix when his Kichiku Megane opening theme “under the darkness” first released, its snarling meanness appealingly at odds with the comparatively fluffy electronica of his previous album (thanks in no small part to guitarist Takeshi Ozaki, whose contributions to pray come close to saving the album) and, most importantly, it didn’t sound like the songs on in your life. Its later-released remix further helped to make pray sound like an appealing prospect, feeding into the idea that maybe this new album might have some of the energy his compositions for the I’ve girls so frequently had in spades – hopes that, it eventually turned out, were more or less all for naught.

First things first, though, there’s no mistaking that pray is a marked improvement over its predecessor. Faster, louder, and meaner, albeit very slightly in each category, one gets a distinct impression that C.G’s definitely learning something as he continues to make music. However, just because he’s improved in some areas doesn’t mean he isn’t still crippled by many of the flaws that made in your life so dull, and it doesn’t mean he hasn’t picked up a few new ones along the way. For example, the Autotune.

For those not in the know, Autotune is a vocal synthesizer that’s currently all the rage in pop music, particularly hip-hop and R&B but found in every genre from country to metal. Its primary purpose is to smooth out the kinks in vocal performances, allowing singers to virtually hit notes their actual range doesn’t allow for or just clean a song up in general. A known side-effect of autotune is a generally ‘shiny’ sound to recordings that use it, and the artificiality has led to certain artists (such as folk singer Bon Iver and hip-hop superstar Kanye West) to use its clinical detachment as an artistic statement. However, not everybody is Kanye West, and the noted uses of  Autotune in recent I’ve works could hardly be explained away as artistic instead of just lazy: C.G mix’s abuse of it on every song on pray being no exception.

The re-recorded vocals on both album versions of under the darkness suffer when rendered with an Autotune sheen, as the song’s comparative griminess had been a major asset previously. The way every verse ends on the precise same machine-assisted note, the increased bizarreness of the Engrish pronunciation, the background arrangement remains thankfully untouched but that’s more or less where the song’s graces end in this new incarnation. Worst of all is the fact that he uses Autotune noticeably on every song, another sign that C.G mix clearly suffers from an inability to realize what a bad idea is.

The album’s second major issue is a lack of distinction between songs, just as his previous album but modeled on under the darkness rather than in your life’s Welcome to HEAVEN!. Once again, this represents an incremental improvement, yet even with the prototype song being improved there’s no real reason to suffer though the album’s seemingly bloated 12-song tracklisting. Certain songs rise above the others simply through small merits of gimmickry (witness, for example, the C.G mix re-recording of KOTOKO’s “Face of Fact”), but by the time you get to the second version of under the darkness that closes out the album you’re unlikely to have remembered any distinct moments from the preceding 48 minutes. All in all, not an album to be recommended by any means, but enough of an improvement to promise interesting things for C.G mix’s future solo endeavours.


Responses

  1. Well there could still be a future C.G mix 3rd album since “True eyes” is yet to be released. And I have a feeling it’ll be his main song right after “under the darkness”.

    I really didn’t like the re-recording of “under the darkness” here in the album. I’d rather listen to the original one. At least, that’s one good song.

    Not a memorable album but it’s an improvement if you ask me. I didn’t really imagine C.G mix as a singer so I don’t really see the reason why make him a singer. Plus his sales are so meazly. “In your life” only charted #111 in the Oricon weekly albums and we cannot hide the fact that it only charted for a week (instead of charting in a much lower position after its first week). I don’t know how “pray” will be able to stay in the top 300 when he’s not all that great (looks, singing voice etc.).

    And I certainly agree with the second major issue — lack of distinction. And the songs sounds just like his old works. I forgot which song is it but when I heard it, it’s like a C.G mix version of KOTOKO’s “amethyst”. I was like, “WAH!” because I love that song.

  2. This album totally sucks! I have never liked “under the darkness”; for some reason, it sounds too yaoi for me, and this new grossly-heavy-breath-including vocalization hasn’t made a possitive difference in it’s growth in me.

    The main problem, along with the VERY GRAY monochomy, is Miss Mix’s voice. Some songs, like Swept Away (the only song’s existence (just existence, I forgot the whole song itself) I actually remember), could’ve been at least not-sleep-inducing if sung by ANY of the girls.

    Therefore, I hereby flag his royal C.G. princess as a thief for stealing the songs that could’ve been at least a failure for the girls. Seriously, I would’ve preferred to dislike, say, MELL’s Swept Away, than falling asleep by Mix’s judge (I don’t even remember it).

    The only memorable thing of the album are a) the cover (that blue flame’s totally cool) and b) the songnames, which sound very appealing and, I suppose, serve as bait.

    My veredict: gray/10.

    • To tell the honest truth I thought “everything is assumed to be connected” is a pretty good song. The rest of the album, though, I’m mostly in agreement with you.

      • I think everything is assumed to be connected. There has to be some evil plot. Anyway, I guess I should check it out anyway, but I just cant listen to the full album without getting bored…

  3. What can I say? I never expected anything out of CG mix.

  4. C.G mix literally put me under the darkness… -_-;;

    i have to admit the booklet is actually a nice one, but the songs are… *speechless*

    i only listened to Face of Fact and found myself in deep regret for having downloaded the whole album… -_-a

  5. So I can’t report on kotoko but you can review pray? What the hell, man, this album barely counts as I’ve.

    Not that there’s anything to mention about kotoko yet…

    • Hey dickhead, the IVE logo is on the CD and the back of the CD case therefore this bitch is 100% I’ve and fuck your kotoko non-I’ve shenanigans

      • Did we all mis something?

      • Long story short: Hikaruhoshi is an awful person and wants to ruin the blog with his reporting of not-explicitly-I’ve news :(

      • Oh, sharpness… May I suggest some agressivity from both? ¬w¬ That would be quite entertaining.

      • No problem, take a look at the others post and you’ll have fun ^^.


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